The White House has announced that the United States will withdraw from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on December 31, 2018.
UNESCO was formally created effective November 4, 1946, as one of several United Nations entities created with a mission of creating unity in the postwar environment. The organization has become a key player in preserving endangered cultural heritage and providing commercially valuable endorsements of places, artifacts, and cultural and artistic practices. In recent years, the organization has become active politically, with member committees passing resolutions condemning Israel while refusing to sanction Syria for human rights abuses and the destruction of the country’s own heritage.
President Ronald Reagan previously withdrew the United States from UNESCO in 1984, citing the organization’s politicization and budgetary abuses. The United States did not rejoin the organization until 2002, at the behest of President George W. Bush, who cited significant reforms made in its achieving its mission and reforming its operations.